Updated: Oct 8
So, why are we moving to NW Arkansas? Well, on our recent visit we found lots of great food and cultural activities in the region, people were really kind, and the access to nature was incredible. Those factors together made us choose to make this move.
If any of that surprises you, keep reading for some more things you might not know about Northwest Arkansas!
Northwest Arkansas is a region in Ozark Mountains that includes some of the largest cities in the state. I personally expected the Ozarks to be super tall imposing mountains but instead found they're almost very large hills. Size aside, the region is known for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and more.
Fayetteville, one of the cities in the region, is home to the University of Arkansas and is a popular college town. It has been ranked among the top ten places to live in the United States by US News & World Report for six years in a row.
The region is known as a cycling haven, with hundreds of miles of bike trails, a 37+ mile bike greenway that connects the larger cities, and a fast developing cycling infrastructure. Fayetteville will host the World Cyclocross Championships in 2022.
The region is fast growing and popular with transplants. The population is expected to double by 2045!
We found a variety of good places to eat when we visited and expect as the region grows the food scene will also grow. You can check out some of my favorites from our recent trip on Instagram.
There are many Black-owned businesses in NW Arkansas, including food businesses. Check out @BlackOwnedNWA for insight into the Black business community in the region.
There are some incredible cultural centers in the region including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a 201,000 square foot museum space with 120 acre park, and The Momentary Museum, a satellite contemporary art space in Bentonville.
The decision to leave DC has been difficult and our trip to Northwest Arkansas forced us to confront some of our own biases. And while my work for Patreon is typically exclusive to that community, I'm opting to share a recent Patreon post about the South, prompted by the incredible amount of negative commentary I received when I visited the region. Below is a preview of that conversation on Patreon, you can also check out the post in its entirety.
I’ve been grappling with the hefty dose of coastal elite bias that I’ve absorbed throughout my life. I did all the “right” things after college. I moved to DC, I got a good job in the city, and I joined the kind of elite institutions that are supposed to change your life. And they did. I went to Georgetown, I became a diplomat, I got tenured. I could see the path ahead full of the kind of life I had been taught “mattered.” Intellectually stimulating, highbrow, world traveling, all the things.
My path has since changed but many of those lessons have stuck with me. Since I started looking for a new home outside of DC I’ve been forced to confront some of them. In particular, my unexamined views about the South.
As I do research for my book, as I consider some of my life’s defining moments, and as I search for a new home I’ve realized that our popular culture, and myself, have made an incredibly diverse region an “other.” Something to be looked down on, made fun of, or explained...